All about Bachchan and 'Aakhri Pasta'

The Bollywood actor is riding high as “Housefull 2” storms into the Rs1 billion club

Bollywood productions houses are in frenzy as Sajid Khan’s “Housefull 2” just barreled into the Rs1 billion club that was once an exclusive haunt for the three Khans of tinsel town – namely Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman.

With not even one of the above-mentioned actors doing so much as a cameo in this caper, the credit for “Housefull 2’s” global success lands squarely on the madcap comedy that has everyone throwing their hat into the ring in this one-upmanship game of 160-odd minutes.

Yet, few of them leave a mark with as many as 16 lead, character and item song actors fighting for screen time in this sequel to director Sajid Khan’s 2010 hit. But ask a fan, and more often than not, Chunky Pandey’s Aakhri Pasta is top on the list of must-watch reasons to hunker down with a dose of “Housefull 2”, with the actor’s Italian ham job being the only character to be retained from the prequel.

“This iconic character is, frankly, the alter ego of Sajid Khan, with me roped in just to essay the role on screen,” laughed Pandey, who was recently down in Dubai for a corporate event where, naturally, an Aakhri Pasta stand-up was the call of the hour.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7 on the sidelines, he said: “Pasta is a creation of Sajid, with inputs from me. The big secret is, both of us are big fans of Amitabh Bachchan, so we decided to name the character after the legend’s famous film, “Aakhri Raasta”.

“The Italian persona was designed after another Amitji film, “The Great Gambler”, where the late Sujit Kumar played a similar character of Marconi.”

Pandey, who is riding high on the accolades for his comic timing and the corresponding Facebook fan pages that have sprung up in the aftermath, said that a large credit for this also goes to Sajid, saying: “He is one of those few directors who would start the camera and in between takes order improvisations.

“What you seen on screen is 40 per cent acting and 60 per cent spontaneity and I think that is what comes through on to the screen ultimately.”

Pandey is enjoying his second innings in Bollywood of late after enjoying moderate success as a lead and second lead during the mid-80s to mid-90s. Post which, the actor found super innings in Bangladeshi cinema.
“But Chunky is not back with a bang and he isn’t going anywhere,” he promised. “During my Bollywood sabbatical, the current generation forgot me; so I tell the newbies, ask you mom who Chunky Pandey is.”

Post “Housefull 2”, Pandey will be seen in Ekta Kapoor’s “Kya Super Kool Hain Hum” where he plays a God man, and “Hum Hain Rahi Car Ke”.

Meanwhile, quiz him if he would team up with his “Aankhen” co-star Govinda for the film’s remake, which was a super hit back in 1993, Pandey simply says: “Govinda and I are soul mates. I would work with him any day, any time.”

Pandey adds that leaving Bollywood anymore is not on his five-year plan, but rather he will work at changing himself.

“I get bored of myself so I am always looking for ways to change; and if the opportunity arises, I would love to leave comedy behind in a few years and tackle more serious and dramatic roles.”

As Pandey cut the chat short to jet off to Dubai Mall for a shopping spree, he added almost nostalgically: “I always love coming to this city. I was even here for New Years (with Shah Rukh Khan) and if someone gifts me a property, I would simply love to have a home here one day.”

He added: “Imma joking!”